New Delhi: Amidst growing tension between the two countries, India today advised its diplomats and officials posted in its High Commission in Islamabad, Pakistan to make arrangements for education of their wards outside Pakistan from this academic session, virtually downgrading it as a "non-school-going station".
The announcement came after a government's review of staffing and related policies for their diplomatic missions as also prevailing circumstances at the station.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, "It is a normal practice for all countries to review staffing and related policies for their diplomatic missions, including in view of prevailing circumstances at those stations.
"With effect from this academic session, officials posted in the High Commission of India in Islamabad have been advised to make arrangements for education of their wards outside Pakistan, till further notice."
According to officials, there are about 50 school-going children of Indian officials, who are currently posted in Indian mission in Islamabad. This development amounts to "downgrade" of Pakistan as a "non-school-going station", an official said.
India and Pakistan are witnessing growing bitterness after Pakistan and its Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made provocative statements on the Kashmir situation in the wake of Burhan Wani;s killing on July 8. Wani was a wanted terrorist Commander of the banned terrorist organisation Hizbul Mujahideen.
Not only did Sharif praise Wani but he also remarked that "Kashmir will one day become Pakistan", a comment which evoked a sharp reaction from External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who said his dream of the state becoming a part of his country "will not be realised even at the end of eternity".
The decision in this connection was taken in June last year to give sufficient time to the mission’s officials to make alternative arrangements for continuing the education of their wards.
“This is an informal, internal, administrative arrangement we were informed of two months back,” Nafees Zakaria, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson, said in a statement.
“No other considerations were communicated to us,” he added.
Last week, India had asked Pakistan to ensure full safety and security of Indian officials and their families there in view of the threats of marches and protests at the High Commission after the observance of 'Kashmir's Accession to Pakistan Day" and "Black Day" last week.